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Scripps Blood & Marrow Transplant Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Providing Life-Saving Care
Date:5/18/2010

The outlook for patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood cancers has improved dramatically since Scripps Health founded San Diego County’s first blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010.

San Diego, CA (Vocus) May 18, 2010 -- The outlook for patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood cancers has improved dramatically since Scripps Health founded San Diego County’s first blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010.

Dr. James Mason, the medical director of Scripps’ BMT program at Scripps Green Hospital, says the survival rate of Scripps’ BMT patients has more than doubled since 1980, and the number of transplants performed annually by Scripps has increased tenfold.

“The field has gone from being viewed as something of a last resort in its early days to now being a viable option where likelihood of recovery is often strong,” Dr. Mason says. “We’ve become much more adept at matching appropriate donors with patients, developing medications to fight previously lethal infections and creating new techniques to make transplants tolerable for older patients. We’re also seeing many patients return to productive lives in a matter of weeks or months after transplant, instead of years or not at all.”

Russ Zinser of Encinitas is a case in point. Diagnosed with chronic leukemia in 1984, Zinser is now healthy, active and completely free of the disease. Zinser found a blood marrow donor among his 12 siblings and underwent a successful transplant at Scripps Green in June o
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